The Real Meaning of Love
The Bible says many things about love. People quote it all the time. It happens often, however, that we don’t understand what we are saying. We use the term “love” to mean sexual attraction or shallow acquaintance when what the Bible talks about is deep, abiding concern for one another in spite of circumstance. Love is multi-faceted and does not always look the way we think it should. Consider love in the light of the following verses.
Love Quotes from the Bible
- First Corinthians 13:7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
The act of loving creates another reality for us in which we exist in perfect harmony with the one we love. We attribute the purest of motives and the heights of truth to them. We can ignore cruel remarks or unkind actions because we believe our loved one is above intentionally causing harm to us, and we build our highest hopes around him or her.
- First Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
Faced by trials and hardships, and the weak nesses of the ones we love, the answer is to keep on loving. In that love, the weakness is less apparent, and it is possible that the ones we love will rise to our expectations of them. Love will make them better than they believed they could be.
- First John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
We don’t fear harm from those we love. We know that our intentions and actions toward them are the best and we believe that is reciprocal. Fear has to do with someone coming against us for our actions or words, but if we truly love, there will be nothing but positive response to our interactions.
- First John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God is righteous, and there are consequences to our actions. The consequences, however, are the kinds of things we allow to come into the lives of our children to teach them. We cannot judge one another because we are all imperfect and in “training.” Our reaction to the failings of others, then, should be the imitation of the love God shows for us. If we understand His attitude toward us, we keep that same attitude toward others.
- Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
People can feign love. They do it all the time. We don’t fall “out of love;” it simply becomes impossible to keep the pretense of love that is not sincere. True love for someone causes the person who loves to abhor anything that stains the image of the loved one. We hate drugs that tempt the addict, we despise gossip that pulls them in, we fight anything that would keep them from showing their best to the world because that is what we want others to see in them. We hold dear any good word or favorable action that throws a sweet light on our loved ones. When we, ourselves, see imperfections in them, we try to concentrate on the good we know is there.
- John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
We are sometimes faced with a problem for which the only solution will bring disappointment or hurt to one of us. True friends choose the welfare of the ones they love above their own. They take criticism they may not deserve, absorb pain for wounds they should not have incurred and shield the one they love from loss.
- Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
Even in the closest of relationships there will be times of stress and misunderstanding. When we get beyond these things, when we work them out between us and arrive at forgiveness, we must let go of the situation. If we allow it to, time will ease the pain and dull the memory of the offense. If we let the hurt resurface periodically, the sore will fester and healing it will become impossible.
- Proverbs 15:17 “A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.”
We often find that the most pleasant of times is marred when we bear a grudge against someone, or when there is friction between us. We concentrate on the imperfections of the people with whom we share the event instead of the adventure or the pleasure of the time. When we love someone though, we find positives in times of darkness (or, as the old proverb says, silver linings in the clouds) and we can endure deprivation because we remember the joys of the event instead of the adversity.
- Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Friends don’t stop loving when public opinion or the trials of life turn. At those times love grows stronger, more impervious to rumor and taller than the challenge it faces. A brother, or good friend, is defined by the ferocity of his defense of his friends in times of adversity.
- Genesis 29:20 “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”
When we truly love someone we become immersed in the relationship. We enjoy the closeness so much that time spent with one another is a cherished commodity.